Why do tech companies avoid the Midwest?

Fetch Rewards / Eng tqKQ80
Sep 1, 2017 997 Comments

I work as a software engineer for a startup company in the northern part of the Midwestern U.S. I make about $80K/year, with benefits, which may seem small... but honestly it's plenty.

I have my student loans paid off. I have my car and motorcycle paid off. I own a 3-bedroom home, with a fenced in yard where the animals can play, and which is only a 20-minute commute from the office. I'm lazy so instead of cooking I end up eating out a lot. And I still have money left over each month for dates, entertainment, and recreation. In other words (especially when compared with California), the cost of living is extremely low, and life is good. I would never in a million years sacrifice what I've got going here to go out west to Silicon Valley. I would certainly make a lot more there but my quality of life would almost certainly go way down.

So why aren't more tech companies setting up offices in the Midwest? The cost of living is so low here. For companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, it would cost them very little, comparatively. In the Midwest you don't need a $400K salary to survive; you can live comfortably with only $80K. Those companies could get away with paying a lot less here and nobody would complain. Why do the major players stay away?

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TOP 997 Comments
  • New / Design whodatwho
    Probably because top talent doesnt want to live there
    Sep 1, 2017 55
    • Snapchat / Eng camera-co
      The thing people are forgetting here is that the talent that does live in the Midwest is already accounted for by someone.

      There are tons of project owners for many of the largest open source projects out there who live in bumble fuck, working at either remote or small offices for who ever is willing to take them.
      Sep 22, 2017
    • Sanford Health LPdc66
      It's the mindset of the majority of people on this forum who have never lived anywhere good in the Midwest that keep flooding the coasts and making them overpopulated. There's so much more growth and start up potential when you're a big fish in a small pond.
      Oct 4, 2017
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Intuit Kindbar
      Ashamed you are from Intuit
      Sep 2, 2017
    • HPE bg2309
      The Midwest doesn't want or need the left and rights coasts to invade them. California isn't doing so well.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Yahoo dmcc37
    I am an Indian. Well tech crowd is full of Asians plus Indians. I won't move to Midwest, for I am scared of guns.
    Sep 8, 2017 27
    • Monsanto 1lxnva
      Dmcc37 have you lived in Midwest? I am from India in the IT field. and living in Midwest and i love it here. It is great to raise a family, save more than compared to California. Some peace of mind that i am not on a fault line.
      Nov 13, 2017
    • Wolters Kluwer radix8655
      Talk about someone who has never lived in the Midwest and talks nonsense. It is a very safe place unless ignorant people like you spreading false rumors take over. Stay in the west, don't come here and spread misinformation
      Jun 2, 2018
  • New / Other
    MachoMan

    New Other

    PRE
    Microsoft
    BIO
    Security guy
    MachoManmore
    Most white westerners will be horrified the day their neighborhoods starts filling up with immigrant indians and asians
    Sep 1, 2017 8
    • Microsoft dannibal
      Loooooovvvveeee curry and fried rice!!!! If that was a threat ... I'm in. That food is amazing!
      Sep 2, 2017
    • Microsoft / Sales
      Ric

      Microsoft Sales

      PRE
      Dell
      Ricmore
      Where did that Indian SWE get stabbed while being told to get out of the country? I believe it wasn't CA or WA
      Sep 3, 2017
  • I think a lot of posters in this thread have never been to the Midwest
    Sep 4, 2017 14
    • New / Eng
      Packetguy

      New Eng

      BIO
      Rackspace
      Packetguymore
      Madison Wisconsin has an amazing University turning out top engineering talent that leave right when they graduate because there is t that many places to work other than Epic and a small Google office.
      Oct 3, 2017
    • Twitter BdgD74
      I've lived in the Midwest and people being politely condescending because you aren't white i.e racism-lite really your gears after a while.
      Oct 8, 2017
  • Oracle Byebye
    I will never get near a state that elected Trump.
    Sep 1, 2017 17
    • Amazon drakejosh
      Bezos actually admitted to being a Know-Nothing
      Sep 2, 2017
    • Microsoft Plethora
      Maskedman that's BS, he has been described as that; he doesn't claim that. He's almost exclusively given to democratic candidates.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Nike / Ops sq1713
    I lived in the Midwest for several years before moving to PNW. Calling all midwesterners racist, dumb, or whatever is as rude and intolerant as painting all coastal dwellers as elitist bleeding heart liberals. How about treating people as individuals instead of generalizing like a bunch of assholes.
    Sep 2, 2017 6
    • Amazon spiddyocky
      Lol... seriously. "Silicon prairie" is not a thing.
      Sep 3, 2017
    • New / Eng IWannaByte
      Well, since you all are being derogatory and trolls...

      The best of "fuck off"s to you as well!
      Sep 3, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng
    slay

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    slaymore
    The Midwest is racist as fuck. Over half the talent in tech are minority groups. How can you convince an Asian, or Indian, or Arab, or black to move to the Midwest to be persecuted in public by fellow Americans and shot by rogue officers?
    Sep 4, 2017 3
    • Accenture / Other
      obamacare

      Accenture Other

      BIO
      Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
      obamacaremore
      I will cosign this. Only person to ever refuse to shake my hand was a white VP of technology for a St. Louis regional corporation
      Sep 5, 2017
    • Amazon ctiff
      Based on what? Your lowly educated opinion? Social media memes? Unlike you, i actually do business throughout the country and work for AMZ to keep my level of boredom down. I actually participate in ownership of a company with mfg throughout the midwest and west. SEA, PHX, SMF, DEN, and LAS are the most racially polarizing locations. The most racially diverse locations are SAT and MSP. SEA and SMF are where degreed employees suck the most
      Sep 14, 2017
  • Accenture / Other
    obamacare

    Accenture Other

    BIO
    Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
    obamacaremore
    Because the rust belt is a crumbling shithole. Outside of Minneapolis/Chicago most midwestern cities lived and died with manufacturing and local leadership is more concerned with making sure entrenched interests are fed than encouraging new industries and investment.

    When the tax pie is growing cities can offer bike shares, nice downtown pedestrian malls, and other amenities that appeal to young tech workers.

    When the tax base shrinks watch fragmented municipalities knife fight each other over a shrinking pond every year.

    Nearly all my friends have moved to Austin/Seattle/Denver/NYC and when I finish my masters I am heading that direction too. Staying in your midwestern home city these days is a tacit sign of failure when it comes to tech.
    Sep 1, 2017 1
  • Twitter BdgD74
    The Midwest is great if you are white. The subtle constant racism gets old very fast for those of us that aren't white.
    Oct 7, 2017 3
    • Twitter BdgD74
      Good point! Blatant racism and alienation is easy enough for most people to spot and denounce. What's harder to deal with is the kind of "death by a 1000 paper cuts" kind of situation you describe. When I was in the Midwest random people would talk me to as if I were an idiot only because I looked different.

      As an example: I don't mean to toot my own horn but I have a PhD in computer science and can figure out how to use a gas pump, unnecessarily patronizing gas station owner.

      No amount of cost of living advantage is worth sacrificing one's own dignity.
      Oct 8, 2017
    • Amazon Solong
      I’m white but not Christian and grew up in a non-English speaking community in NYC. I was a total pariah in Chicago. My roommate who was from the Dominican Republic was an outcast as well because everyone assumed she was African American, but she didn’t care about American sports or soul food. I couldn’t wait to get out of the provincial Midwest as soon as possible—and I’m never going back.
      Oct 8, 2017

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